by Cody McLaughlin - Friday, July 10, 2020
As readers of our site know, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio has been on the front lines of the crazy-expensive push to institute vasectomies for every male deer on New York’s Staten Island as a method of population control. We’ve been tracking the cost-prohibitive “nonlethal deer management” initiative for years as out-of-control deer populations continue causing serious health and property damage across the Staten Island borough. The result? More than $6.6 million has been spent to date—more than twice the original amount quoted to the city by the contractor—with the population dent totaling only 316 deer. Now the New York Post is reporting that the controversial program is on the chopping block as city officials search for “fat” in the budget to cut due to a $9 billion shortfall amid COVID-19. The move is expected to save the city an additional $700,000 this year alone.
History of The Vasectomy Program
In 2016, the City of New York hired the company White Buffalo to run the sterilization project—the first of its kind—to help control the Borough of Staten Island’s exploding deer population. As recently as last year, the Staten Island Parks Department tried to claim victory with results that, as the math shows, are questionable at best. Taxpayers spent an average of just under $13,000-a-head to shave just over 300 deer off the herd.
Deer on Staten Island: By the Numbers
In 2008, there were only 20 or so deer on Staten Island. Today biologists estimate there are roughly 2,000 deer over the 58.69-square-mile borough—or 34.9 deer per square mile—an increase of 8,600 percent. The herd grows mostly through reproduction rather than migration to the island.
Now compare these alarming totals to the borough’s healthy historical deer populations of only eight to 20 individuals per square mile. The current deer populations are staggering with more than double the number of deer even when looking at the higher end of what is considered carrying capacity for healthy, sustainable populations.
Such rampant overpopulation can have serious effects on public health, safety and even the cost of living. For instance, car crashes attributed to deer are on the rise, with 103 accidents in 2018 alone resulting in 17 human injuries.
Clearly, the math speaks for itself. Compare this information to the amount both resident and non-resident hunters actually pay to the state of New York each year to harvest deer for the dinner table while aiding wildlife management efforts. And considering hunters can kill more than one deer each, the math favors hunters and legal, regulated hunting even more as the most cost-effective measure for deer population control.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a noted conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He works as a GOP consultant for conservative political causes, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence and as a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, helping to represent the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena.
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